COVINGTON, La. -- The Southern Hotel in downtown Covington has brought another piece of local history back to life.
The Garden House at the Southern Hotel will be available for guests to rent starting July 1.
The Southern Hotel originally opened its doors in 1907. At that time, the grounds where the Garden House now stands served as the gardens and tennis court for the hotel. Built in 1937, the Garden House itself was originally constructed as Covington’s post office, and has been restored to reflect this era.
The Southern Hotel owners carefully preserved many of the building’s historic features, including the terrazzo floors, original safe, tile walls, and the 1939 WPA mural by Xavier Gonzalez.
“The Southern Hotel is committed to providing guests with an experience that is rooted in history and connected to the community around us,” said Southern Hotel owner Lisa Condrey Ward. “The Garden House is an exciting project that allowed us to take an outdated building and restore it to its former glory while re-imagining its use. Through the Garden House, our guests will appreciate and come to experience the the 1930s era of the building’s origins.”
Ward carefully curated the suites with a mix of local artwork, original furniture pieces and custom design elements to match the 1930s style décor inspired by American interior decorator Dorothy Draper. Key pieces include the signature banana leaf wallpaper sourced from the Dorothy Draper company, artwork from local artists including Peg Usner, Jan Dicks and Marianne Angeli Rodriguez and the preserved mural “Tung Oil Industry” by Xavier Gonzalez.
“Tung Oil Industry,” Gonzalez’s orginal mural painted for Covington’s post office was originally commissioned by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts for Covington’s new post office in 1939. A study for the mural is archived at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Garden House now boasts five individually appointed suites as well as a 285-square-foot conference room and a lush courtyard. The palm suite, the hibiscus suite, the dragonfly suite, the postmaster’s suite, and the Xavier Gonzalez suite are aptly named for local flora, fauna and the history of the building and range from 359 to 630 square feet.
The Garden House courtyard is now available for corporate or private events for up to 175 guests.